As the NFL draft nears, USA TODAY High School Sports will look back at the high school careers and draft prospects for some of the top players. Here is today’s installment on Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards:
MARIO EDWARDS JR.
Position: Defensive end
High school: Ryan, Denton, Texas
ALL-USA history: Named to the first team in 2011, when 32 of his 72 tackles were for loss, including 11 sacks. As a junior, he had 127 tackles and 50 tackles for loss.
College: Florida State
Height, weight: 6-2, 279 pounds
By the numbers: Set single-season highs as a senior at FSU with 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.
Draft positives: Possesses an elite combination of size, strength, power and quickness. Versatile defender who wore several hats for Seminoles’ strong defensive unit. Flows toward the action and makes quick reads when engaged with a blocker. Plays with a low center of gravity, understands the leverage game and how to position his body against a blocker. Explosive in a short space.
Draft negatives: Does not have that extra gear as an edge rusher. Won’t beat the athletic pass blockers to the edge. Lack of speed shows up the further into space he gets. Not a stout defender against the double team.
Projection: Round 2/3
What he says: “I feel comfortable basically with anything with my hand in the dirt, whether it’s a three technique, four or five. I’ve never played in the NFL, so if they say I need to gain weight to play and take on the double teams, then that’s what I have to do.”
Draft analysis by Dan Shonka, Ourlads.com